X Factor US announces $5 Million Award

X Factor US
has announced the largest award ever for a TV show. Simon Cowell the producer of X Factor announced they will be giving the winner of the X Factor a $5 million recording contract. Previously the largest TV awards were for Survivor and America’s Got Talent at $1 million each.  American Idol does not offer a set dollar award, but provide the winner with a recording contract. While a few like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson have been very successful and may have made more than $5 million in their careers, most winners in American Idol have made average of $1 million in the year following their wins.

“We want someone that will be a global super star.” Said Simon Cowell. “If you win this competition I am gonna put my money where my mouth is.”

George Michael rumored to be judge on X Factor US

It has been rumored that George Michael has signed on to be a judge on the US version of X Factor.  X Factor which is produced by Simon Cowell and is a competition to American Idol has been running in the UK for years. Simon Cowell quit American Idol last year so he can have more time to bring X Factor to the US. The show will be launching in September 2011 in the US.  The format will differ slightly from American Idol, in that the contestants can be anywhere from 12 to any age (vs. 15 to 28 in American Idol).  Also, vocal bands may compete in X Factor. The auditions will also be held in front of live audiences. The remaining judges have not been picked yet.

American Idol questions unanswered

The big question up until now, with regard to “American Idol”, was “Who will replace Simon Cowell?” Although that question still remains unanswered, another question has joined the queue – “Who will replace Ellen DeGeneres?” Ellen left the show even though she had 4 more years left on her contract.

With one well established judge and one people friendly judge gone, there were also rumors that Kara DioGuardi had been fired leaving three spots vacant on the judging panel. The chairman of Fox Entertainment, Peter Rice, refused to comment on that matter which in turn gave the rumor more substance. When asked about the rumors that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler had been tied up as replacement judges, Rice said that no such deals had been signed.

The show has been in trouble for a few years now as viewership has steadily declined. In the last 4 years it has lost a total of six million viewers and this was probably a key reason for lynchpin judge Simon Cowell to leave the show. The drop has also seen Idol valiantly defending its number one spot in the ratings.

There have been rumors that Nigel Lythgoe would come back to the show in order to conduct massive make-overs, but Rice refused to comment on this story as well. He did say that big changes would be in place for the next season of Idol but did not elaborate further. The only thing he did admit to was that the judges would be in place when auditions get underway in mid-September.

American Idol Finale, Simon Says Goodbye

Last night was the Finale for season 9 of American Idol and also Simon Cowell’s last night on the show. Simon is is leaving the show to start his US version of X-Factor which is a music contest show similar to American Idol with him being one of the judges. The show has been a hit in the UK for several years. It is not known who the judges will be on the version of X-Factor, but it was rumored that Simon was in talks with Victoria Beckham.  It is also has not been decided who would be replacing Simon next year at American Idol.

On the Finale, Lee Dewyze was crowned the winner and Crystal Bowersox took 2nd place. It was a surprise to many that Crystal did not win as on the night before, the judges seemed to favor Crystal as the winner. Ryan Seacrest announced that the winner won with a difference of 2% in the votes.

Several artists performed at the final, including Alice Cooper, Bee Gees, Christina Aguilera, Alanis Morrissette, Hall & Oats, Joe Cocker, Brett Michaels, Chicago, Janet Jackson, Kris Allen and Carrie Underwood. In addition, several group performances included past American Idol winners and top 10 finalists.

Paula Abdul also was present at the show and came on stage to speak about Simon’s departure.